I’m not a big drinker, and never have been. I’ve had phases of life where I drink multiple times a week, but these days I can go a month or more without a drop passing my lips. I enjoy a glass of wine or a good beer, but I never really need either to enjoy myself, or enjoy a meal. Instead, I tend to adopt the drinking practices of those around me.
Before I moved in with my husband, I shared a house with a woman in cute little house in east(ish) Oakland. She was ten years older than me, also had a dog, and, as someone in recovery her only requirement of me while I lived there was that I not keep alcohol or drugs in the house. I could have friends over for dinner and drink whatever we wanted, but I couldn’t put the unused beer back in our fridge.
This was so easy for me, it didn’t once begin to pose the tiniest problem in the year I lived there. Though I love beer and wine, cost and health have been the two big factors that have made me not incorporate them into my lifestyle.
When I moved in with my husband, shortly after we became engaged, I started drinking more because he was a more regular drinker. We had beer at dinners out at restaurants, lots of beer and/or wine if we had guests, and for him, harder stuff in the afternoons and evenings. Without going into too much detail, around September, he decided there was too much booze in his life and he quit. At the time it seemed a bit over cautious to me, but on reflection I know it was the right thing to do, and I’m proud of him for coming to that decision.
Though I haven’t given myself any ultimatums, I have reconsidered my own drinking in the last few months. Though I’m by no means a heavy drinker, when I do drink, I don’t especially like the person I become. After two or three drinks, I tend to enjoy myself quite a bit, but it’s not until the next day that I question whether or not my behavior was appropriate, and whether I was saying stupid shit. My day-after self-consciousness tortures me for a good two or three days after the event, and I cringe each time a memory of something I said or did pops into my brain.
I think this self-torture process has more to do with my innate self-consciousness than with actually acting like an ass. For instance, the first time I ate mushrooms, I was at a party and kept telling the friend I was with that everyone there knew the ‘rules’ (i.e. how to behave; what to say) but me, and therefore I couldn’t speak to anyone but her for the entire night, lest I break one of the sacred party covenants and make a giant fool of myself.
Whether or not drinking transforms me into a tactless broad (I do know for sure that that’s happened at least once), I’m not sure I want it in my life anymore. As much as drinking affords relaxation and turns me into a more fun, outgoing person, it also wracks me with self-loathing and worry. None of my friends really like to go out and get drunk anymore, and perhaps if you’re 27 and still getting trashed most weekends, you might have a problem. I welcome this new era of sobriety, and remind myself that my favorite kind of social interaction is having friends over for dinner, not dancing at a club or hanging out at bar. It might make me sound old, but drinking has lost its allure.